Lines & Ageing

The skin is the largest organ in the body. It is responsible for many functions and provide the body environmental protection as the main priority. Skin ageing is considered a natural process exhibiting gradual changes to the appearance and functionality of the skin that occur over time known as intrinsic ageing. However, a combination of other aspects can contribute and exacerbate this process known as extrinsic ageing or commonly referred to as premature ageing. Below is a summary of the differences between natural ageing and premature ageing.

Natural ageing

It is said that the natural ageing process begins in our mid to late 20s, with all the essential cells that keep our appearance looking youthful and skin healthy begin to slow down as we get older. That being said, it can vary from person to person and sometimes subtle signs of change from intrinsic ageing don’t show until decades later. The dead skin cells begin to shed more slowly and skin cell renewal turnover time is not up to scratch. That lovely plump appearance becomes less evident as our collagen production starts to decline, and elastin a protein that allows the skin to bounce back (like a rubber band) to its original shape will start to be more “elastic” and unable to spring back (like a slinky toy) over time.

Intrinsic ageing can be characterised by the following:

  • Skin becomes more dry and rough

  • Fine lines and wrinkles start to develop due to cellular changes in the dermis               (second layer of the skin)

  • Thin and transparent skin due to thinning of the epidermis

           (first layer of the skin)

  • Skin becomes more fragile and easily bruised due to thinner blood vessel walls

  • Loss of fat below the skin in the cheeks, temples, chin, nose and eye area may result in loosening skin, sunken eyes

Premature ageing

Premature ageing is when the skin's natural ageing process has progress quicker than the expected timeline. This progression can be advanced by single or a combination of extrinsic factors and even sometimes in conjunction with intrinsic factors. One of the major contributions to premature ageing is by sun exposure called photoageing or photodamage. Australia is one of top countries with the highest ultraviolet radiation (UV) and with constant exposure to the sun it can accelerate the ageing process prematurely. The UV in sunlight damages the collagen and elastin fibres in the skin with slow to impossible regeneration. Sun damaged skin may not show immediately in youthful skin but it will later in life and can progress quite quickly.


Gravity also plays a major part in the natural ageing process as we cannot stop or prevent gravity from occurring. Skin changes is influenced by the motion of gravity as it constantly pulls, therefore the lack of collagen and elastin will become more evident as we age due to the effects of gravity. This works in conjunction with our sleeping positions. Certain fine lines and wrinkles can result or “sleeping lines” from your sleeping habits. For example, if you slept on a certain side for many years without change every night, you may notice fine lines will develop on that particular side compared to the other. Other external factors that may contribute to prematurely aged skin include smoking and repetitive facial expressions. Smoking has always been associated with dramatically accelerating the ageing process with obvious deep wrinkles and leathery unhealthy skin. 

Extrinsic ageing can be characterised by the following:

  • Freckles and sunspots/age spots

  • Telangiectasia (dilated capillaries) and cherry angiomas (blood spots)

  • Dry, rough and thick leathery skin

  • Thinning of the dermis due to damage of collagen and elastin fibres result in loose skin

  • A combination of fine lines and deep lines 

  • Blotchy complexion or uneven skin tone

  • Thickened bumps called “solar elastosis” giving the skin a yellow hue

  • Blackhead and whitehead lesions

  • Develop actinic keratosis (solar keratosis) which are rough, dry and scaly patches of skin and can be pre-cancerous skin

Overall, skin ageing is a complex process involving a combination of factors both internal and external. Remember, skin ageing should not be treated or viewed as a disease but instead its a normal process that happens.

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